Flying The Flag: North Devon District Council
Following an independent review into its communications, North Devon District Council (NDDC) wanted to improve its reputation by developing a clear and credible brand that reflected its improved services and would drive further improvement. The review concluded that reputation and corporate identity were not taken as seriously across the Council as they should be. There was no clear brand. People inside and outside the council were not clear what NDDC ‘stood for' and the Council's logo was being used in a variety of ways which meant that it was difficult for people to identify its services.
Aims and Objectives
The independent review report recommended that the Council should develop a clear, recognisable and trusted brand. It should then deliver on the promises of that brand. Vivid was asked to provide communications and brand consultancy support. The consultancy's work included helping NDDC to:
- Develop a consultation and communications strategy for the work
- Re-vamp its current logo
- Develop clear brand standards and principles
- Develop mechanisms to ensure its brand is adhered to within NDDC
- Give responsibility for its brand to the Council's Communications Manager, supported by the Strategic Management Group.
The aim was to create a brand as a visual and conceptual interpretation of NDDC's vision to be understood, believed and appreciated internally and externally as:
- A uniting influence to bring together service areas to create a strong, confident Council speaking and acting with ‘one voice'
- A confident posture, with coherent, modern and easily recognisable visual branding through the Council's range of services and channels
Strategy and Implementation
The Council had bid successfully for national improvement funding to help it develop its work and improve its services. Its brand development work was a key part of a programme of improvement. Value for money and sustainability were important elements of our work with the Council. Close work with the Council's Communications Manager and Graphic Designer ensured this was achieved. Skills and ideas were shared and discussed to ensure the best outcome.
Vivid developed and delivered a programme of consultation with external and internal stakeholders through one to one interviews, presentations and focus groups. This included partner organisations, local residents and businesses, the media, councillors, employees and trade unions. The feedback included a range of views but it was clear that local people wanted the Council to champion the area, help their quality of life by delivering good services, demonstrate community leadership and promote the area - in a nutshell, flying the flag for North Devon. People were also quite clear that they lived in North Devon - not just Devon or the South West but specifically North Devon.
Evaluation and Results
Vivid's report detailed evaluation and analysis of the research and recommendations for the way forward (which included a recommendation to create a new visual interpretation of the brand). This included communications with people inside the Council to keep them up to date and involve them in the work. We managed the process of selecting a local design company - Salt Media- as part of a competitive pitch to undertake the visual branding work and develop branding guidelines. The new logo was based on the idea of a flag to demonstrate the Council's role in championing North Devon. We worked with Salt and the Council's Graphic Designer to develop a new logo and brand guidelines work. The word ‘district' was dropped from the Council's name as people said they felt it made the title too long and to them the Council was ‘the Council.'
Using the communications routes set up during the research, consultation and communications continued through the process to ensure dissemination and implementation was effective. This included employee briefings so that people understood what the Council's new brand meant, how they contributed to it being delivered and how this was a key part of the Council's improvement programme.
The new brand was formally adopted at a meeting of the full council. To ensure cost-effectiveness, it was rolled out on a phased basis over 18 months - a process managed by the Council's own employees in line with our recommendations for sustainable dissemination and implementation.
As a result of Vivid's work with the Council, it has a strong confident brand that reflects its excellent service delivery and which is easy to recognise.